Pennsylvania lawmakers propsed a tax on violent video games last week. If this bill passes, games such as “Grand Theft Auto” (GTA) would include a secondary tax. 

This article contains opinion.

Before we get to the actual headlines, I would just like to say TAXATION (in most cases) IS THEFT.

It’s even more ridiculous to think that our own commonwealth would consider the idea of taxing items such as violent video games.

On Monday, an anonymous Pennsylvania lawmaker proposed a tax on violent video games, in which the profit from said tax would fund school security.

The proposal was then seconded by Chris Quinn, a Republican representative from Delaware County. Quinn said the tax could generate at least $3.5 million yearly and could pay for equipment such as bulletproof glass, metal detectors and additional security cameras.

Although many are for improvements in security in the school system, the way the money would be acquired is completely asinine. 

Here’s why.

The idea that “violent” video games could be taxed is flawed in so many ways and has various avenues that need to be covered before the idea should have even been put on paper. 

The ESRB rating system places games based on how much negative content there is in a game. A game such as “Grand Theft Auto V” has an “M” rating due to nudity, violence, etc. A game such as “WWE 2K19” contains mild violence with no blood or graphic imagery.

Let’s even hop one space forward with the question if “Super Mario” games would be taxed.

In the game, you need to hop on different enemies, killing and eliminating them from the level. However, if you replay the level without considering the result, the once-defeated enemies are right back in the mix. But does this count as violence in the suits’ eyes?

How would games like these get taxed? 

A flat tax rate would lead to boycotts by consumers since the rate could go for a game with as much negative exposure such as “GTA,” a game with very little violence like “WWE” or even “Madden.” But a varying tax rate would be difficult to drum up since thousands of games have different levels of violence.

Secondly, how would a tax rate be implemented to the general public? 

Would consumers be audited for how many violent video games a household has? If so, wouldn’t that be a restriction of their rights to freely consume luxuries such as digital games? 

Or would credit reports get sent out after purchases to determine what games people bought? If so, a confidentiality breach would take effect.

And let’s not forget that studies have shown no real connection between violent video games and aggressive behavior.

Flash back to 2011 to the Brown vs. Entertainment Merchants Association and the Entertainment Software Association, in which the U.S. Supreme Court went on record to say, and I paraphrase, that video games are under full protection of the U.S. Constitution and any efforts to tax the public for violence in video games will be struck down.

If a proposal for a “sin tax” on violent video games progresses forward, there are major issues that need corrected before any action is taken.

Even if they are, however, the ethical standards surrounding the tax will deny the proposal from reaching a vote. 

Consumers would protest the tax by not purchasing video games that have a hint of violence, leading to failing gaming companies, which would lead to unemployment for thousands upon ten thousands of people.

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